Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
July 25, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Cohort 2 of 100Knoxville launches with five more companies

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Five new Black-owned companies have joined the 100Knoxville initiative run by entrepreneur Brandon Bruce. The program was inspired by a similar one that has shown some success in Memphis called the 800 Initiative.

The second cohort for 100Knoxville will participate in the 5x5x5x5 program, which brings together five companies for five weeks. There will be five mentors in the program and each company receives $5,000. Learn more about 100Knoxville and the 5x5x5x5 program in this article. The goal of 100Knoxville is to help Black-owned businesses grow by $10,000,000 in five years.

We spotlighted the inaugural cohort of 100Knoxville in a series of articles that readers can access here.

Bruce, who announced the Cohort 2 in an email late last week announcing Cohort 2, called-out Pilot Flying J for sponsoring the latest five companies. He said he hopes the program will lead to a sustainable increase in revenue for the five companies, which include:

  • Pat Bardsley of GateWay Delivery: A service company that delivers groceries, restaurant orders, home goods, alcohol, and more. GateWay is locally owned and operated and has a branch in Nashville as well.
  • Jeneve Blake of Dulcie’s Café: A Jamaican restaurant in North Knoxville that offers takeout and catering as well as dine-in service. Besides the brick-and-mortar location, Dulcie’s Café has a mobile food unit.
  • Angela Elder of Smiles Professional Cleaning Services: A janitorial services company for commercial office spaces. Smiles Professional Cleaning Services include cleaning, sanitizing, recycling, and trash removal.
  • Rachel Fletcher of Knox Upholstery: Offers reupholstery of antique, mid-century modern, and contemporary furniture. Knox Upholstery works in commercial and residential spaces and works with a variety of fabrics.
  • Semhal Nasreddin of SOULSKY: A direct-to-consumer clothing brand. SOULSKY is an e-commerce brand with colorful designs on t-shirts and sweaters. The company also offers shorts and pants.

Stay tuned for future articles on Cohort 2 in subsequent editions of